Phones Off, Pads On For JMU Football

HARRISONBURG, VA. (WHSV) -- Three weeks from Saturday, JMU will take the field for its season opener at Maryland. The process of getting there comes with a lot of milestones, and Saturday was no different as the Dukes put on pads and began two-a-day sessions for the first time during camp.

Everett Withers set the tone when the players took the field just after nine o'clock Saturday morning. And the first year head coach says there's a lot of work left to do.

“Getting used to wearing all the pads. I think that's part of this deal, to understanding how we practice we go hard. We talk about game reps and guys getting used to doing that again,” Withers said. “We got some things done. Got some installation done.”

And the team has really bonded over football in this first week. Starting quarterback Vad Lee said after practice that when they're not on the field, the players have spent a lot of time in the dorms, with their new roommates.

"You don't have much free time,” Lee said. “But everything is about this football team. And how can we get better. And guys have embraced that. I definitely have embraced that.”

And the players don't have phones to distract them. The coaching staff took those away so that the Dukes can focus on getting better.

"We've got guys out here competing. We've got one family, one focus and we're out here working and grinding." Lee said.

Senior free safety Dean Marlowe said it wouldn't be camp if the players weren't exhausted and tired.

“We've definitely been able to push through it and become mentally tough. And just trying to get better everyday," Marlowe said.

Withers added: “Now it's just a matter of fine tuning it and getting the guys in the right spot."


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